Dixie Dude Ranch

Dixie Dude Ranch

Las Vegas, New York, and Miami are the usual go-to places for bachelorettes—but have you ever considered a dude ranch?  I hadn’t, until my sister-in-law told me she was off to the Dixie Dude Ranch in Bandera, Texas, for a girls’ weekend.  I turned up my nose and thought sarcastically, “right–sounds like a blast”.  Turns out I was totally wrong.  My SIL returned with stories of female bonding, drinking, and cute cowboys.  Plus, at about $130 a night (including meals, horseback riding, and other activities), it’s a bargain.  Now if only I could convince my own city slicker friends…  –Christina, Wedding Spy 

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Not sure if this is a backlash against Hollywood’s stick-figure brides, or just a sign that America is, increasingly, a country that lives large, but lately I’ve noticed a lot of brides with phattitude. That’s the self-confidence you see in a plus-size woman who flaunts her curves with pride, who sashays down the aisle as though she owns it, and who isn’t afraid to emphasize her hips by embellishing the drop-waist of her wedding gown with rhinestones. We all know women who get engaged and stop eating; brides with phattitude get out there and celebrate. Frankly, we’re kinda impressed! –Sally, Wedding Spy

Earlier this month I was helping to celebrate the opening of the fab new Italian Village at the Beaches resort in Turks and Caicos. There were 14 (!) weddings scheduled over the course of two days, and here’s what impressed me:

1) The superb staff kept the ceremonies so physically separate from one another that each couple thought it was Their Own Special Day in paradise. (Who was I to destroy the fantasy?)

2) The weddings looked as though they’d stepped out of a magazine. The reason for this, apart from the setting, was that so many of the parties were dressed in white, babies to granddads. I hate the idea of a real-wedding-as-photo-shoot, but I’ve got to say that a dress code of “tropical whites” is pretty gorgeous. –Sally, Wedding Spy

Little did I know that when I was in Southern California for a wedding on April 25, Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag of “The Hills” were tying the knot just an hour away.   Oh, to be so close to such a major event and not even know it!!!  Heidi wore Monique Lhuillier and Spencer shaved his creepy flesh-colored beard (wink wink to all you “Soup” fans). Audrina, Lo, and Kristin Cavallari were in attendance.  Did LC get snubbed???  Nope, she snubbed them and I think we all know why…” –Christina, Wedding Spy

The wedding I went to this weekend was gorgeous!  My friend, Byram, got married on his family’s ranch, about an hour and a half outside of San Diego.  Admittedly it wasn’t the most comfortable I’ve ever been (I got two bug bites—poor me!—and it was pretty nippy), but the wedding was so beautiful I didn’t really care.  The ranch was nestled in a valley, and the couple got married on a paddock surrounded by an orchard and horses.  It was an at-home wedding that mixed charm (Byram and his bride, Lauren, carved their initials into the tree they married under) and glamour (lots of gold, crystal, and French royal china).  I especially enjoyed the candy bar—salt water taffy and candy buttons were displayed in old-fashioned glass apothecary jars.  Get this: The bride woke up at 7 A.M. to begin setting it all up!  She and her team did an incredible job.  –Christina, Wedding Spy

Coming to work on a cloudy, chilly day is always hard—it’s even harder when you’re just back from a vacation in the Bahamas!  I was in the tropics last week, at one of the most fun weddings ever. My friend Michelle got married in Freeport, on Grand Bahama Island, and I am now convinced that destination weddings are the best.  The sun, the rum—what’s not to love?  The biggest question I had to answer all trip was what to wear.  I finally settled on a sleeveless black and white floral print sundress and J. Crew flip-flops. Armed with sunglasses, a sweater for the ocean breeze, my digital camera, and a Bahama Mama, I walked past the resort’s infinity pools, red-and white lighthouse, and gazebo, straight to the beach where the sand was strewn with flower petals in preparation for the ceremony. After, I ditched the footwear and threw an elastic around my hair so I could get serious on the “dance floor”–a piece of wood laid on the sand. The 40 of us were joined by some wedding crashers—seagulls—who were lured by the food, but never got close enough to sample the cake. Then the sun went down, the volume went up, and we danced all night. ­–Jackie, The Wedding Spy

Wedding Spy goes rugged this weekend!  This city slicker is off to an outdoor wedding on a ranch an hour or so outside of San Diego.  It’s going to be a dream wedding with horses roaming in the paddock and champagne flowing in abundance, but it’s also going to be 58°.  Brrr!  On top of the cold, my mother-in-law has recommended I bring “LOTS OF BUG SPRAY.”   I am fully loaded with 98% Deet insect repellent (you can’t even spray this stuff directly on your skin), 3 pashminas, and a sweater.  The irony: It’s going to be 85° back in New York.  Stay tuned for a full report on the wedding.  –Christina, Wedding Spy